PULLMAN, Wash. - Washington State University, which once appeared on lists of top party schools, is moving to allow hard liquor sales at its student union building, golf course and before football games.
In March, school administrators changed a long-standing alcohol and drug policy to allow on-campus hard liquor sales at some new restaurants on campus. A section regulating alcohol sales on football game days was altered to allow liquor to be sold in the Hollingberry Fieldhouse adjacent to Martin Stadium, where only beer and wine sales previously were allowed.
WSU Vice President Mel Taylor said the move is not expected to produce problems.
"We're not opening up another college bar," he said.
Taylor said a quiet, well-controlled bar in the Compton Union Building would offer an alternative for students, staff and faculty who don't want to go to a rowdy college bar.
The University of Washington allows hard liquor sales only at the UW Club, which is primarily patronized by faculty and staff, spokesman Bob Roseth said.
In Pullman, the owner of an upscale restaurant under construction in the remodeled Compton Union Building has applied for a liquor license.
"We understand that we're under the electron microscope," said Greg Markel who owns the Dupus Boomer's restaurant. "But we're going to have zero tolerance."
Dupus Boomer's has a liquor license application pending with the state Liquor Control Board, as does Banyan's On The Ridge, a privately owned steak house. The board has received comments both for and against granting the licenses, spokeswoman Susan Reams said.
Campus police Chief Bill Gardner said university officials are sending a mixed message when they preach against drunken behavior, then opt to sell booze.
Gardner was a Pullman police officer 10 years ago, when a drunken riot on campus garnered national attention and left the university with a public relations nightmare.
Markel said Dupus Boomer's staff will be trained to be vigilant in how alcohol is served. Ages will be verified electronically. Markel said he's invested about $3 million in the project, and doesn't want to lose his investment because of alcohol abuse.